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AGFO contradicts pro-Duterte group Citizen National Guard’s claim some members are retired generals

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The Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) refutes the claim of a group claiming to be protectors of President Rodrigo Duterte against the “yellowtards” and other “enemies of the state” that some of their members are retired generals.

According to an ABS-CBN News report, AGFO denies getting reports that some of their members have joined the pro-Duterte group Citizen National Guard (CNG).

AGFO President Ret. Maj. Gen. Edgardo Batenga said he does not know the supposed retired military officials who appeared during the launching of CNG on October 3.

“Well, as president and chairman of AGFO, I have no knowledge that generals are forming a group for whatever purpose. We are supposed to be a non-partisan association,” Batenga told ABS-CBN News.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Public Attorneys’ Office chief Persida Acosta were present during the press conference for the launching of CNG, whose purpose was to protect the Philippine government from enemies including drug cartels, CPP-NPA, ISIS-inspired terrorism, seditious political opposition tagged as “Yellowtards,” and foreign intelligence agencies calling for regime change with international support.

Aguirre remarked that he also formed a group similar to the CNG to help fight the “enemies of the state.”

He added, “This is extra official. In our own little way, we want to help them.”

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Acosta said the group can serve the voice of the people.

“Kayo po ang magiging tinig na maririnig ng ating mga kababayan at gayundin kung nakikinig po yung ilang grupo na gustong wasakin ang ating bayan, sana po naman makonsensya sila,” Acosta said.

Also in the press conference was CNG’s allied group Save the Nation.

Both groups claimed that their members include retired soldiers, doctors, teachers, engineers, farmers, other professionals, religious organization members, and students.

CNG and Save the Nation vow to fight the threats against the President and the government.

“[T]he Citizen National Guard and the Save the Nation movement reject any notion of foreign instigated and assisted regime change, contrary to the principle of sovereignty and interest of the Filipino people,” they said in a statement.

“[T]he conspiracy of evil forces enumerated… poses as grave and imminent danger to the lives of our population, destroying the future of coming generations, threatening the integrity and the very existence of our nation as an independent republic,” they added.

A certain Retired Marine Col. Herbert Escalera, who represented CNG’s retired military members, said that his fellow retirees are still willing to fight for the country and its welfare. He also hit former soldiers and now Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for “poisoning the minds of the people.”

“Ako po ay retired sa serbisyo pero ang buhay ko hindi pa retired. Tayong mga mamamayang Pilipino, magkaisa po tayo, huwag na tayo magpalinlang. Kami mga military matagal na gaming ginagamit, masama sa loob namin,” Escalera said.

“Saan tayo pupulutin kung hindi tayo magkakaisa? Si Trillanes, wala yan, nilalason lang utak ng mamamayang Pilipino,” he continued.

Both groups revealed that they have around 25,000 members so far and more members are signing up.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) hit Aguirre and Acosta for supporting CNG.

“Is the DOJ endorsing the formation of a vigilante group of retired and reserve officers under the Citizens National Guard? What is their basis in defining who ‘enemies of the state are’? It seems that all critics of the regime are branded enemies of the state,” BAYAN Secretary General Renato Reyes told Philippine Star via text message.

PAO is under the DOJ.

“This is a dangerous move, as it appears to be an endorsement of armed violence, or a threat thereof, aimed at Duterte critics. That this group has the backing of the DOJ Secretary aims to give it a cloak of legality, no matter how vague the composition and objectives of the group are,” Reyes said.

“Given the terrible state of human rights in the Philippines, a government-backed vigilante or para-military group seeking to counter Duterte critics is indeed a cause for concern,” he further said.

Sources: ( abs-cbn.com , philstar.com )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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